As the public spot light somewhat dims on the almost perfect game by Armando Galarraga on June 2, a quieter assessment of video review in MLB games goes on.
The loss of the perfect game came with two down in the 9th on the mistaken call at first that resulted in a hit. The replay showed the runner was out.
Most now agree that Commissioner Bud Selig correctly refused to overturn the call. The chaos that might have resulted with the opening of the video files to every other blown call and the cries for corrective action could have been a monster.
In a recent poll by ESPN The Magazine of 100 MLB players, 86 percent said Selig did the right thing and 77 percent opposed the use of replay for calls on the bases in the future.
For many, the issue of video replay use is about slowing down the game while umpires peer into little black boxes with head sets on, reviewing their work on site.
There is a way to both use replay and not slow the game down.
If viewers can sit in their easy chairs and see the mistakes, why can’t another umpire in the stadium do the same thing-maybe without the easy chair.
MLB could expand umpiring crews to five members. They would rotate positions to include one being in a replay booth for each game.
Use of replays would be limited. It is now used to determine if home runs are fair or foul and whether the ball actually left the yard. That would continue.
Add to that reviews of any calls that are clearly wrong.
We are not talking about substituting the replay umpire’s call for the on field call.
Instead, the booth umpire would call down to the crew chief to overturn a field ruling only when it is clear from the replay the call was wrong.
Yes, there will probably need to be rules to define the use of replay, but, really, can’t it just be that if a call is obviously wrong, it gets corrected?
Supplying the replay booth with feeds from local/national TV coverage is always a question, but that really is easy in this day and age.
Besides, unlike football, we are not looking to have elongated and multi angled viewings of very difficult calls. Just reverse the obvious mistakes.
That leaves the human element in the game as it must be. It would not result in umpires having to overturn their brethren’s discretionary decisions.
The umpires should like such an arrangement since it puts another umpire to work in every game.
MLB should like it since it eliminates the pain of having to watch endless days of replays of clear mistakes.
Players should like it since it gets the clear mistakes out of the game and there is minimal delay if any in doing so.
Let’s go to the video tape!